After both cross country teams captured runner-up honors in the NCIC last year, this year’s teams are even hungrier to snag a conference title.

After both cross country teams captured runner-up honors in the NCIC last year, this year’s teams are even hungrier to snag a conference title.

“We are off to a good start,” said head coach Don Fredericks. “We got started a little earlier this year and I personally like that.

“Our difference makers have put in a solid summer of base training and that will be important to our success.”

On the girls’ side, coach Fredericks expects great things from the “Big 4” of Joann Chenoweth, Amy Cosgrove, Danielle Dewey and Emily Ford.

“There is no question they are definitely our top four, but the question is who will be our top 5,” said Fredericks. “We don’t have a lot of girls out this year.”

The senior girls who will lead the Lady Leafs this year include Chenoweth, Cosgrove, Dewey and Betsy Winberry.

“The seniors are driven and it will be hard to say good bye to this group at the end of the season,” said Fredericks. “Both teams I believe are really, really strong and this team of girls is better than last year’s team that did so well. I am real excited about that.”

The juniors looking to make impact are Hilary Lohman, Amanda Morse and Natalie Shipman.
Three sophomore members include Britta Conrad, Jenny Ford and Paige Gatter, while one freshman Emily Ford rounds out the roster.

On the boys’ side, coach Fredericks views his “Big 5” for the Leafs as Chad Ford, Carlisle Evans-Peck, Thomas Sigwalt, Kyle Reiling and Jordan Starkey.

“It will be exciting to see how they progress,” said Fredericks. “The boys’ team wants to run in the state finals really bad, as well as the girls. Is it a realistic goal, only time will tell.”

The senior members of the boys’ team include Jacob Carton, Evans-Peck, Ford, Cameron Hodgson, Andrew Kellogg, Ethan Koisti, Brandon Oleson, Alex Strohmeyer and Paul West.

The juniors vying for a spot at the top are Tom Dellett, John Mullin, Greg Pemble, Sigwalt and Branden Smith.

Sophomore members include Mickey Christensen, Jesse Mohr and Reiling.

The newcomers to the squad are freshmen Marcus Gagnon, Hunter Kuffel, Kyle Parker, Starkey and Jay Wilson.

Coach Fredericks said his expectations for this year’s team are to run for fitness, fun and personal bests.

“I want them to have a good experience and peak when championship meet season roles around,” said Fredericks.

In the NCIC this season, the Dixon girls are the heavy favorite, as well as the Dixon boys, but they graduated a lot of runners last year. Coach Fredericks sees his squads ranked in second, but Sterling is always a dangerous team.

The No. 1 strength of Geneseo’s teams this season will be its leadership from the captains.
“Leadership on the team starts with the coaching staff and then goes to the captains,” said Fredericks. “The captains of Chad Ford, Evans-Peck, Chenoweth and Dewey are doing a phenomenal job. They talk the talk and walk the walk.”

A weakness that could cause Geneseo some problems later in the season is depth.
“It would be nice to have a lot more depth,” said Fredericks. “Injury and illness could be a big hit to the team, but every team will have to battle with that.”

Coach Fredericks said the keys to his teams’ success this year will be making smart decisions when not at practice with nutrition and staying healthy.

“Hopefully we will get lucky and dodge the injuries, but we need to have luck on our side,” said Fredericks. “I like to think we make our own luck with making good decisions. I am excited about the opportunities that this season has laid in front of us.”

Last year, both the boys’ and girls’ teams nabbed runner up honors in the NCIC. The Lady?Leafs went on to place second in regionals and advanced?Chenoweth and Stephanie Kennett to the state finals. The Leafs earned a third-place finish in regionals, while advancing Josh Lodge to the state finals. At the state meet, Chenoweth finished 28th overall, while Kennett took 30th and Lodge 60th.

The Geneseo cross country teams open the 2009 season at 4:30 p.m. Sept. 1 at the Grass Relays in Sterling.